Politico’s Jonathan Martin gets the scoop of the day, as if the media talking heads and political operatives weren’t already aflutter because of the VP debate tonight. McCain has thrown in the towel on any hopes of winning Michigan next month. Staffers and resources are being relocated to Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida.
This is significant because Michigan was one of the Kerry states McCain had a shot at winning (the other being New Hampshire), as well as his win here during the 2000 GOP primaries. He lost to Mitt Romney the second time around.
Obama has gained momentum and opened up a lead in state and national polls against McCain. He’s even forcing McCain to play defense in Indiana and Virginia, which were solid GOP states for more than 40 years.
The pressure is on McCain in two ways. First, he’s financially boxed in by accepting public financing, so he only has $84 million to spend for the last 2 months of the race. If the Obama fundraising juggernaut can keep up its pace, they could force McCain to make some very tough choices in the final stretch about where and how to allocate personnel, resources, and money.
Second, by conceding Michigan it raises the stakes for McCain to win in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio. If he loses Pennsylvania, he MUST hang on to Florida and Ohio and hope he can run up an Electoral College lead elsewhere. If he loses all three, it’s game over.